We all know that reading books to young children and encouraging them to read as they get older is a good thing. Studies have shown that reading for pleasure improves children’s brains, increases their learning ability and can even help with maths. Especially for expat kids, all the positive aspects of reading might prove to be very useful!
For expat children, reading could be even more beneficial, as reading is a fun and interactive way for children to become familiar with new situations. For children moving abroad there is so much to learn and to take in. Reading helps them understand and absorb new information and concepts.
Children have the ability to adapt quickly, and for them to read literature from their new country is the perfect opportunity get to know their new home. Reading fun stories that children are actually interested in makes it so much easier for them to identify with new cultures, customs and values.
Reading introduces kids to new words in a casual and enjoyable way – there is a strong link between reading for pleasure and vocabulary development. As expat children often need to learn new languages, reading could really help them in the process. Especially picture books provide for an easy way to gradually learn words in other languages while seeing visual representations of the words.
Not only getting to know their new culture but also keeping children in touch with their native culture is important when moving abroad. Especially to parents that don’t want their children to forget where they come from or their “roots”. By reading books from their native culture, it keeps the connection alive. For many parents, picking kids books from their home country is fun, as well as nostalgic.
Joydeep Dash, who moved to Sweden from India via Germany told The Local, “We have a pile of Indian literature books starting from Amarchitrakatha to Tinkle,” he says of the comic books that use pictures to explain Hindu mythology and Indian history.”That is how they identify with our culture and values”.
Furthermore the reading habits of children might even prove to be beneficial to the parents! “My daughters are the bridge between Sweden and India and motivate us to learn Swedish,” Dash adds. Because children are so adaptable, they can act as a bridge between the old country and the new. Therefore it motivates the parents to get to know the country and learn the language as well.
Image: The kids reading together by Valerie Everett (flickr)
To help talk to children about moving abroad take a look at Moving planet isn’t easy, an illustrated storybook for expat families.